“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them yourself.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
If you’re intending to switch to sales role, and completely do not know what’s in it for you, I have compiled 7 sales mistakes commonly made by a salesperson. I was holding a regional sales role 3 years ago and I wish someone would have pointed me to these 7 sales mistakes. There are absolutely ways which you can avoid these mistake if you pay close attention and always be aware of your actions.
Here are the 7 Sales Mistakes you need to know:
#1 – Not Listening Enough
Most salesperson are overly engross with their presentation of their products or services that they often failed to listen for the details. It’s very common for someone who’s new to sales to just focus on what ‘you’ want rather than what your potential client want. Take some time to understand your potential client. Talk to them and even postpone your presentation unless they are excited or show interest to see your products or services.
Your first meeting is always get to know each other and finding out the bit and pieces of what’s their current challenges (problem). And from the problem, which part is causing them ‘pain’. ( money lost? time loss? market share loss? ) You could tell your potential customer, you might not even sell anything to them if you don’t have a solution to what they want. Get them to talk more. Conversation should aim at 50-50 in this meeting.
The idea is to get your potential client to ‘want’ your product/service. Never treat every meeting the same and simply go through motion. If you’re lucky, you will get a deal. But 99% of the time it’s a gamble. Top sales person can time the sale and make the kill at the right moment. Never try to chase your client. let them chase you instead.
#2 – Speaking To Non Decision Maker
Before you setup your first appointment with the potential client, ask yourself is the person in charge of making a “purchase decision”? If not, who is that person? You could do a quick check on LinkedIn and check for the person who’s in the director, founder, CEO or CFO level. Most salesperson do not have the confidence to approach the ‘C’ level. They are thinking about ‘C’ level need a recommendation from another ‘C’ level. That’s entirely not true! A real life example that I always like to give is Tony Fernandas, CEO of AirAsia. There was once when Tony went for an interview at Virgin Airline. After the interview, Tony was actually rejected. While he was walking out of the interview room ,Sir Richard Branson walked passed. And he walked up to have a conversation over coffee with Richard and was offered the job. You can read the full inspiring story here.
Remember to take you time to find the right decision maker. Make a call to the company and asked for the CEO by name. You just need to sound confident. That’s all. It’s simple but with much practice.
#3 – No Budget
You have a wonderful product or a service your potential client wanted very much. The only problem is they don’t have the budget. Well that’s not the actual problem. The solution is what gets them the budget to be built. What’s in it for them? Which would they part with the money or a bigger market share?
Make sure to get those words of no budget from the main decision maker. Some approving manager or director are not thinking big enough on the future return. Only if the CEO of the company tell you so then you should move on. Always lead your potential customer back to the reasons why they wanted a solution in the first place. Remind them again about what you have uncover for them and they need a solution to it.
#4 – Building Rapport
As a salesperson, the first step you need to take is to get your potential client to like you. Building rapport should be a top down approach. Doing the reverse will slow down your entire sales process. Find out who you need to build rapport with and how often should you meet your potential client? The approval party, the decision head (they have no power in signing but play a supportive role), the end user ; some end user are at management level. Who are they?
Often a great relationship starts from getting to know the person. Do you have any common topic to talk about? Next time if you were to walk into your client room, see if you could spots any common interest to strike an interesting conversation.
#5 – Propose Contract Early
You need to know when is your potential client financial closing month. And make you proposal before they close off their budget for the next year. Often, you might find yourself missing their budgeting month by 1 or 2 weeks due to late proposal. And if you’re selling services, you got to know if they have a contract with your competitor. When is it ending? You need to stay close to your potential client or you might missed a potential sales due to an existing contract term and condition.
Propose early before their final contract end date with your competitors. Some companies have a long approval process that take months. Do not compete on price but on service and expertise. No one buy cheap clothing just because they need to put on some cloth.
#6 – Not Charging Enough
When your service or product had a desired features, your client would have to pay you a higher price. Premium services are easier to sell then cheap one. If you have a quality product and provide exceptional customer service, you client would be glad to pay you more because you deliver on time or even go the extra mile.
This point would also tied back to point 5. You have to try your best to find out the budget set aside for your product or service. Charge a fair price for your service render. Never undersell your service or product to please your client. I did this mistake before which I undercharge a big client just because I missed out this step. (could potentially be 6 figures)
Why does Burberry burn $37 million worth of their goods yearly?
#7 – Not Selling Your USP
Product and service knowledge need to be at your fingertip. There are sales person which I met whom doesn’t know anything about their product or service at all. They are like being thrown into the streets with zero training. You should attend all product and service training by your supervisor. If not, it’s your responsibility to ask for it. List down all the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and find out what your competitors are selling as well. Your potential client will always compare your service or product with your competitors. You are being bench marked.
Be prepared to answer some of the questions which your customer would ask you. You want to look confident and not having to tell them you will find out and get back to them.
For new sales person, you need to get yourself trained continuously and learn from others people mistakes. It’s your responsibility as a sales person to get revenue for your company. This is not an easy role but those who does it well get rewarded. Do leave me a comment below if you have tips to share on some of the mistakes make. What’s your biggest sales mistake made so far?